Release IRR on expanded law over protected areas — lawmaker
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - September 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration should release at the soonest possible time the draft implementing rules and regulations on the law that provides stronger and wider protection for protected areas in the country.  

Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato of Occidental Mindoro made the call for various stakeholders after President Duterte signed into law last June 22 Republic Act 11038, the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System Act of 2018, which she principally authored.  

She wants the government to focus on expanding the strict conservation of areas and nature reserves using ecological parameters of conservation; review, assess, revise and regularly update PA management plans, and reconstitute the Protected Area Management Boards (PAMB). 

Sato said the Philippines is faced with the problem of dwindling forest cover, massive degradation of coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems and a serious threat to the country’s endemic and unique species.

She underscored the need to harmonize the development and conservation perspective within a PA with the passage of the law, lamenting that resources are exploited and utilized by foreign firms with local and national government having no share from the benefits. 

On a per unit area basis, the Philippines probably harbors more diversity of life than any other country on the planet, Sato said.

The Joint Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape and Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape PAMB meeting is part of a series of fora that aims to provide local stakeholders in 94 PAs included in ENIPAS with a deeper understanding of the provisions of the new law.

In her brief talk with participating leaders from various parts of SOCCSKSARGEN, Sato lauded the Bayanihan spirit demonstrated by the region in ensuring that an appropriate plan is crafted and resources are made available for two new PAs.

It is through Bayanihan that the ENIPAS became a law, she said. There were only 13 protected areas backed with legislation prior to ENIPAS.

JOSEPHINE RAMIREZ-SATO
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